Recently, the IRS implemented the new tax payer’s bill of rights. This is a great step in helping to eradicate the inherent fear that seems to plague an overwhelming amount of taxpayers. For years, the mystic that the IRS operates like some private army; taking whatever steps they want to force tax payers to pay past due tax without giving consideration to tax payer rights. Though the IRS can and will enforce action to collect taxes due, they have always had a “bill of rights” in place to protect tax payers. In other words, the bill of rights is not new, nor is there any new enforcement mechanism in place to ensure tax payer rights are respected. The action is purely symbolic and seeks, in my opinion to close the gap between fact(s) and myth(s), as it relates to tax payer interaction with the IRS.
Perhaps, even more important is the impact experienced by IRS employees. The mere mentioning of increased focus in this area may instruct better customer service in terms of call handling, response to inquiry, and other widely mentioned areas of tax payer abuse. This could be seen as a defining moment in redefining IRS culture. Employees tend to behave congruent to their environment’s tolerances. I think it’s wonderful that the IRS has taken this opportunity to reiterate the importance of treating tax payers with respect and dignity.
Obviously, gaining a complete understanding of exactly how tax payer bill of rights may affect certain tax payer issues is beyond the scope of this article; however you would be well served to read over the bill of rights to familiarize yourself with them. At least you will know which direction to take in terms of inquiry with tax professionals, as well as IRS Representatives. Sometimes, knowing what to ask saves a lot of time and unintended ambiguity.